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How California Residents Can Protect Themselves from Hit and Run Crashes

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that hit-and-run crashes are a major cause of fatal auto accident deaths in California. According to a recent article in The Mercury News, unsolved hit and run crashes are increasing in our state. Between 2014 and 2018, there were 42 fatal hit and run collisions investigated by San Jose law enforcement officials. Police only solved 25 of those cases. For the other 17 hit-and-run fatalities, police could not locate the driver.

Police have a difficult time locating hit-and-run drivers, even if video evidence captured the crash. In The Mercury News article, the author discusses a case this year where a nearby video camera captured grainy footage of a white van hitting and killing a woman in front of City Hall. Unfortunately, law enforcement could not locate the driver.

East Bay towns have similar problems with hit-and-run collisions. Several weeks ago, a motorcyclist died in a hit-and-run collision in Concord. In June, another motorcyclist died after a hit-and-run collision in Fremont.

Police do sometimes catch the hit-and-run driver. In a recent crash that occurred in Oakland, police identified a hit-and-run driver who struck another vehicle, killing a 6-year-old child and seriously injuring the child’s mother.

East Bay motorists do have options after a hit-and-run collision. A skilled personal injury attorney can investigate your accident and help you determine your options for recovering compensation.

What to Do After a Hit and Run Crash

Hit-and-run collisions complicate pursuing an insurance claim. If police find the driver, then you may file a claim against the driver’s insurance company.

You should take certain steps after a crash to increase the chances that police find the at-fault driver.

  1. Call the police right away. If you are able, then contact the police right after the crash. Write down anything you remember about the vehicle or the driver. What was the color, make and model of the vehicle? Did anything make the vehicle or driver stand out? Some people may even be able to remember the license plate number.
  2. Seek medical attention. Be sure to seek medical attention, even if you are unsure about whether you suffered injuries. Some types of injuries may cause symptoms hours, days or even weeks after the crash. Certain health conditions, such as internal bleeding, can lead to death or permanent disability without prompt treatment.
  3. Try to gather evidence. If you are able, try to gather evidence from the scene of the crash. Take photos, ask witnesses for contact information and take a look around to see if there are any cameras that might have captured the incident on video. Some intersections have cameras, as do some storefronts.
  4. Contact an attorney. You should never wait to contact an attorney after an accident. An attorney can help you uncover and legally preserve evidence. In addition, your attorney can handle negotiations with insurance providers. If police locate the driver, your attorney can negotiate a settlement on your behalf or help you file a lawsuit to recover adequate compensation for your damages. Additionally, an attorney can help you determine if other parties may be liable for your damages.

Compensation from a lawsuit can help you pay for damages associated with your injury or loss. A settlement or jury verdict can help pay for expenses that include medical bills, funeral costs and medical equipment. Pain and suffering damages may also be possible if the driver is located or another party is responsible for the accident.

About Our Alameda County Car Accident Lawyers

Heinrich Law, PC can help you look at options for recovering compensation for your injuries or loss after a hit and run crash. We encourage you to contact us and speak to one of our Alameda car accident lawyers during a free consultation. You can learn more about our unique approach to car accident litigation by exploring our website.

To schedule a free consultation with Heinrich Law, PC you can call (510) 944-0110 or use our online case review form.